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Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???
Old 08-18-2005, 06:41 AM   #1
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Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???

I've been thinking a lot lately about buying a new wood burning furnance...a highly effecient wood/oil combo with a 500gal heat(water)storage tank...it costs close to $15K (ouch). I have enough wood on my property to last many, many lifetimes, and for now anyway, I enjoy harvesting it. (so its basically free).

I currently use about 1500 gallons of oil per year.

At current prices, that means, about $3000 a year savings, or a 5 year payback....if oil costs rise to $3/gallon (not impossible imo), a 2.5 year payback...if oil drops to $1.00 a gallon again, it takes about 10 years and no longer seems like investing $15K makes sense...

What appeals to me most are 2 things: one, never having to purchase oil again, and not worrying about what the future holds (i.e. being energy independent, at least as far as heat & hot water)...and second, the possibility of coming out ahead financially....one the payback period is over, at $2/gallon, I save something like $250/month, every month, for as long as I am able to process the wood...

Opinions?
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???
Old 08-18-2005, 07:26 AM   #2
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???

You are talking about a roughly 20% cash-on-cash yield, which is pretty good. However, this would require substantial effort on your part, so I don't think it is that clear. Personally, I am way too lazy to do the cutting and feeding of wood into the thing. I would suggest that you consider how long you will be willing and able to do the work. Ain't none of us getting any younger.
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???
Old 08-18-2005, 07:34 AM   #3
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???

>>I would suggest that you consider how long you will be willing and able to do the work.

Yea...thats the hard part...I figure 15 more years minimum, maybe 20 or more(I'll be either 56 or 61 by then)...by then all the kids will be grown, and I'll be living someplace warmer... Of course, along the way I'll grow a teenage son that I can offload work to for a while at least...

You right though, its not a simple mathematical excercise...
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???
Old 08-18-2005, 08:09 AM   #4
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???

I lived in a house for a number of years where I only had wood heat. When I had children, I added propane heaters because of the ease. Then I got sick of the snow and moved to a lower elevation.

Wood heat is warmer than other hear because the walls absorb the heat. I love it.

BUT....it is more work and messy. Wood bark, dirt and bugs come to mind. I kept a wood hoop inside the house and the big woodpile in the side yard.

So think of a second source for those days when you are sick of hauling wood, or have a sore back and don't want to refill the wood container.....
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???
Old 08-18-2005, 09:33 AM   #5
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???

I grew up with a wood furnace. I echo KB's comments. As a teenager I moved a lot of wood. Rather not now.

You might look at other options too. Some people in our part of the country use exterior wood boilers--keeps all the mess outside. http://www.cozyheat.net/aqua-therm-o...-furnace.phtml
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???
Old 08-18-2005, 10:22 AM   #6
 
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???

We heat with wood only, even though we have a propane burning furnace.* I enjoy the wood cutting/moving routine, though I realize that may not always be the case.* Heating with wood is kind of a hobby with me.

But here's my suggestion: Look into a way to get a wood burning furnace for a lot less that $15,000.* *I'll bet you could do that.

Here's a forum with some real wood-heating fanatics who can answer all your questions:

http://hearth.com/ceilidh/ceilidh.html

Also, have you considered a wood stove type fireplace with ducts for distributing the heat?* How big is your house?
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???
Old 08-18-2005, 10:31 AM   #7
 
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???

Here are some other links you might find interesting:

DIY Wood Burning Furnace

Wood fired central heat

Homemade furnace
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???
Old 08-18-2005, 10:50 AM   #8
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???

Quote:
Originally Posted by farmerEd
I've been thinking a lot lately about buying a new wood burning furnance...a highly effecient wood/oil combo with a 500gal heat(water)storage tank...it costs close to $15K (ouch). I have enough wood on my property to last many, many lifetimes, and for now anyway, I enjoy harvesting it. (so its basically free).
Yikes, how much would it cost to sell the trees and move to a warmer climate?

All that wood-chopping exercise is quite likely to prolong your life while turning it into a life sentence with no parole for good behavior...

As long as you're working off your @$$ to heat your home, Jim Dulley's website has a ton of articles on efficient heating & insulation, including wood-fueled systems.
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???
Old 08-18-2005, 11:12 AM   #9
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???

Are you talking about a starved air, outdoor wood furnace? Those are getting popular in the northern clims, but smoke a lot (so if close to a neighbor.....). They apparently only need loading once or twice a day and can be used to heat your hot water, too. I agree, if you enjoy the wood cutting, chopping, stacking, and putting in the wood shute, go for it. I think Al, could come over and clean the chimney for you….
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???
Old 08-18-2005, 11:33 AM   #10
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???

>>But here's my suggestion: Look into a way to get a wood burning furnace for a lot less that $15,000.* *I'll bet you could do that.

Definitely available for less...this is the best (as far as I can tell - HS Tarm). It does oil and wood as a single unit, which is important for me(i.e. if I go away on vacation) and so I don't need to put in a second flue/chimney which I would have to if I added a wood unit to the existing boiler...and it also is super effecient, so probably burns half as much wood as a less effecient one...the other nice option is the 500gal hot water storage tank...so basically you can use the unit in the summer to get hotwater...fire it up maybe once per week and it saves up energy in a superinsulated tank for use all week long (helps with the payback period if I don't need oil all summer too). I've looked at cheaper units, so far haven't found one I like better, but I am still looking. A simple add-on unit would be a lot cheaper, but alas, only one chimney to use....

This particular unit is for indoor use...don't think any of the outdoor ones are nearly as good...I like keeping the mess outside, but then again you need to go out in -20 below weather and feed it

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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???
Old 08-18-2005, 11:58 AM   #11
 
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???

Quote:
I think Al, could come over and clean the chimney for you….
Oyd be 'appy to, guvnor, I would I would. Jus' let me get me shirt off, mate.
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???
Old 08-18-2005, 01:20 PM   #12
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Oyd be 'appy to, guvnor, I would I would.* Jus' let me get me shirt off, mate.
I was expecting the beaver!
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???
Old 08-18-2005, 06:31 PM   #13
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???

Quote:
Oyd be 'appy to, guvnor, I would I would. Jus' let me get me shirt off, mate.
fine, just keep the pants on PLEASE!
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???
Old 08-18-2005, 06:51 PM   #14
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???

They used to make the Longwood Dual Fuel Furnace in Missouri. One of my High School teachers was the son of the inventor. Don't think it is in production now. This was during the 70's energy crisis. Had an Uncle who had one. If your have a woodlot I think it would work out. Check out Corn Stoves.
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???
Old 08-18-2005, 07:01 PM   #15
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???

I echo KB's and Martha's comments. I grew up in a house heated only by a wood stove, and as a kid chopped and stacked a lot of wood ("wood warms twice" and all that), plus I was the designated early-morning fire stoker.

As soon as I was old enough, I immediately moved to warmer climes (even spent some time in Nords' vicinity), and haven't looked back since. No thanks.

But hey, have fun.

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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???
Old 08-18-2005, 10:58 PM   #16
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Re: Pay $15K upfront to pre-pay 20+ years of oil heat bills???

Any idea how these compare environmentally? Emissions from one of these compared to your current oil furnace? Getting mostly off the grid, or less reliant on the grid anyway, does have a lot of appeal as well.
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Old 02-14-2008, 07:46 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farmerEd View Post
I've been thinking a lot lately about buying a new wood burning furnance...a highly effecient wood/oil combo with a 500gal heat(water)storage tank...it costs close to $15K (ouch). I have enough wood on my property to last many, many lifetimes, and for now anyway, I enjoy harvesting it. (so its basically free).

I currently use about 1500 gallons of oil per year.

At current prices, that means, about $3000 a year savings, or a 5 year payback....if oil costs rise to $3/gallon (not impossible imo), a 2.5 year payback...if oil drops to $1.00 a gallon again, it takes about 10 years and no longer seems like investing $15K makes sense...

What appeals to me most are 2 things: one, never having to purchase oil again, and not worrying about what the future holds (i.e. being energy independent, at least as far as heat & hot water)...and second, the possibility of coming out ahead financially....one the payback period is over, at $2/gallon, I save something like $250/month, every month, for as long as I am able to process the wood...

Opinions?
You know as crazy as this sounds, my tin foil hat is on today BUT americans that live in a cold climate probably will need a free source of wood sooner than later to keep warm in the coming winters, when oil is hard to pay for. Gasoline is one thing but when its 10 degrees and oil is 8 dollars a gallon, wood cut by hand from the backyard will surely keep you warm and solvent.
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